Gratitude Is An Attitude

Exiting principalship and having some time out from leading a large organisation, has given me the opportunity to be a lot more present than I have ever been in my life

The need to slow down has created opportunities to see and learn new things in new ways. It has also provided me with time to think about where I am going and what pathways are available. I’m enjoying the opportunity to do this and making the most of it. One area that I have been thinking and reading about is gratitude. 

I’ve come to realise gratitude is one of the most important values available to us. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Why? Gratitude allows us to feel more positive emotions, make the most of experiences, improve our health, deal with setbacks, develop strong relationships with others and identify what is currently great in our lives.

If gratitude and appreciation have such an impact on our lives, why do people not practice it more? If I use myself as an example, I think it comes down to that important phrase I mentioned above – being present which often stops when we are time poor and life gets busy and hectic. Does this resonate with you?

So, how are you as a leader ensuring you are living and leading with appreciation and gratitude? 

Here are some strategies that I use or have used in the past that might be worth considering.

  1. Making gratefulness and appreciation a daily ritual, not just a practice that you pick up every now and then especially when life is going your way and according to plan. 
  2. As part of your meeting practices and protocols, give your team the opportunity to identify 1 thing they are grateful for either in a work or personal context.
  3. Everyday create a ‘top 5’ list of things you are grateful for. These can be simple things such as the ability to exercise, a good flat white coffee on the way to work.
  4. Let people know you are grateful! Tell them why. For example, “thank you for prioritising time to catch up with me last week”. This can be done in person, by text, by email or by writing them a card or note. The key to this practice though is not ‘overcooking’ it. Keep your practice genuine and authentic. Also, remember to not favour some employees more than others.
  5. Keep a journal or notebook to record things you are grateful for. I often like to read back over these things to see if there are any patterns occurring over time.

Embracing and practising gratitude is a life changer and definitely leads to more joy and happiness in our lives. 

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